December 7, 2009 / 8:00 AM / 9 years ago

"Monk" finale sets cable ratings record

Actor Tony Shalhoub, nominee for "Monk", arrives on the red carpet at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - “Monk” ended its eight-season run with a bang, becoming the most-watched hourlong series on basic cable.

The Friday series finale of the USA Network comedy-drama drew about 9.4 million viewers, 3.2 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic.

That represents the largest audience and demo turnout to date, not only for the show and for a USA scripted series but also for a drama series on basic cable, eclipsing the 9.2 million mark for TNT’s “The Closer.”

It’s a fitting farewell for a series that defined USA’s brand of quirky comic dramas and kicked off the network’s ascension to cable-ratings supremacy.

The second part of “Monk’s” two-part closer, which saw Tony Shalhoub’s OCD-plagued detective solve the biggest case of his career — his wife’s murder — beat the series’ previous high in total viewers by 37 percent.

It also towered over all programs on the broadcast networks Friday night.

Boosted by “Monk,” the fall finale of USA’s freshman series “White Collar” also hit series highs, averaging 5.55 million viewers, the cable network’s best performance at 10 p.m. Friday in more than three years, since the series premiere of “Psych.” “Collar” also posted its best numbers in adults 18-49: 2.1 million.

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